Transfer business at Celtic is serious business, and as we wait for January it seems to me to be of critical importance that we start tying up the transfer threads of this season even as we look ahead to the one after it.
There are two pieces of connective tissue which link this season’s transfer business with the next campaign; the loanees.
Both Carter Vickers and Jota have performed admirably.
The first can be had for £2 million, and it already seems like a no-brainer. But Jota, for £6.5 million, is the easiest sell in the recent history of our club. The boy is a star. The fee is a steal. When the time comes to sell him we’ll make three times that back on the business.
We can’t lose out of it.
In my view, the deal should be done in January. Make it official. Make this guy a part of the team for next season and beyond. Do it immediately before the press starts making mischief, and they are already making mischief, of course.
There’s nothing to be gained here by caution, by sitting back and letting them drive the narrative. You can see what this boy is capable of becoming, and the press is terrified that we nail him down on a deal which keeps him here for years.
So do it, Celtic. Get it signed up as soon as we can.
Already the press is talking about how Benfica might want to hang onto him.
Tough luck for them, as we have an iron clad clause giving us first refusal.
Their second line of attack is that this, of course, depends on him wanting to extend his time at Parkhead, and it’s here that they know they can roll the dice and see what problems they can cause us.
Remember, it costs these people nothing to stir the pot at Celtic Park.
Even if they get nowhere and accomplish nothing, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to have a try at it and they can do it over and over again. There’s also the near certainty that some of our former players will leap on board the bandwagon. All this is preventable.
And it must be prevented.
Because this player must be given a Celtic shirt for as long as we can keep him in one, and I understand that it will eat into the budget for next season but I also know that we won’t need to sign 12 players in one window.
Jota is an investment, in both a football and fiscal sense and I don’t believe for one minute, of course, that us signing him on a permanent deal would stop the press from inventing stories every other week, but by then those stories would not matter and they would guarantee us the kind of fee that would make the whole thing worthwhile.
No sensible board would pass this opportunity up, and I don’t think we will.
The only question is the timing, and if we do it sooner rather than later we’ll nip some of the stupider media stories in the bud. They would love to see us fumble about on this only to fail, so the club must make sure that they don’t.